• The first day over many days without bombings

    Раздача продуктов (Medium)The City Aid Center regularly takes trips to Luhan’sk and Donets’k region. On January 16, 2015 we planned another trip, this time to Krasnohorovka, Mar’ynka region, which is 9 km from Donets’k. Due to more frequent attacks and aggravation of the situation in Donets’ka oblast, have decided to send a small team of two people.

    We left early in the morning, the distance is not large, although there were many checkpoints, and the closer we approached to Donetsk, the more stops and checks we had to pass, anyways three hours was just enough to get to the place.

    Having stopped at Krasnohorovka, we first thought that no one was left there, so abandoned seemed the area, with empty deserted streets. At the very entrance to the town, the first things that caught our eye were houses razed to the ground, buildings with broken windows and boarded-up with OSB-sheets, shell craters, the gunshots of GRAD missiles heard from the distance. Until recently, there lived more than 16,000 people, but today there were single residents, those who are poor or on the verge of poverty, hunger and survival, those who simply have nowhere to go, with no means to live out even another month. The area is badly damaged, being constantly under fire, and people live in sheer fear and horror of bombing. The city has been cut from the power supply, leading to many homes left without light and heat; no gas supply, no windows, snowing and frosty weathers made the situation only worse. The houses are cold down to the extent that it seemed that staying outside is warmer than to be inside. To keep the houses and apartments warm, people board up window openings with OSB sheets, and stay in darkness. They put on all warm clothes they have to keep themselves warm. The elderly, disabled stay in bed, all dressed up and covered with all the blankets that are in the house. Pot-belly stoves are now a luxury here, and not all have the firewood. Only those who have firewood and stoves can withstand cold and frost.

    Food reserves at participants’ households are running low, many cook meals on fire outside. The residents of Krasnohorovka faced a problem with getting a drinking water. The water supply is ruined, and the people need to overcome long distances to get water from wells.

    For three days before our trip the town was subjected to massive shelling, leading to 10 deaths.

    The dwellers of the multi-storey residential buildings in Krasnohorovka arrange the basement for temporal shelter during the shelling.

    We distributed the aid (foodstuffs, hygiene kits, medicines and warm blankets) to the needy people, including those whom we met on the way to the participants’ homes.

    The children were not forgotten. We visited the school and handed out some gifts. Children still go to school, in spite of the challenging environment. At the entrance we were warmly greeted by the school principle who shared that it was not easy to conduct classes with the danger of shelling, but they still try to keep the schedule, so that the children continue their studies. The school building has also been fired; the windows are broken and are patched with the PVC film, but the teachers show courage and continue teaching.

    One of the residents in Krasnohorovka showed us a huge crater and an unexploded shell in her garden; she is afraid to stay in the house, as the explosion may happen at any time and destroy her house.

    Time has passed fast, and the day was coming to its end. We have met many people, who shared their stories, not hiding tears and pain, but at the same time all of them would express deep gratitude for our support, and most importantly, all people wanted peace, and no war, longing to see clear blue sky, raise children and enjoy life.

    On the next day, January 17, we received a call from our local partners there who told us that the shelling of Krasnohorovka resumed and the military closed the road going in that direction.

    We realized that on that day, January 16, 2015 when we were in the town, God was with us, and it was the only peaceful day over many days without bombings…